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Carbon Storage in Protected Areas - Technical Report 



05 November 2008 






UNEP WCMC 




The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring 
Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the biodiversity assessment and policy 
implementation arm of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 
the world's foremost intergovernmental environmental organization. The centre 
has been in operation since 1989, combining scientific research with practical 
policy advice. 



UNEP-WCMC provides objective, scientifically rigorous products and services to 
help decision makers recognize the value of biodiversity and apply this knowledge to 
all that they do. Its core business is managing data about ecosystems and biodiversity, 
interpreting and analysing that data to provide assessments and policy analysis, and 
making the results available to international decision-makers and businesses. 



Prepared by 

Alison Campbell, Lera Miles, Igor Lysenko, Holly Gibbs, Adam Hughes 




UNEP WCMC 



Disclaimer: 



Citation: 



Acknowledgements: 



The contents of this report do not necessarily reflect the views 
or policies of UNEP-WCMC or contributory organisations. 
The designations employed and the presentations do not imply 
the expressions of any opinion whatsoever on the part of 
UNEP-WCMC or contributory organisations concerning the 
legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its 
authority, or conceming the delimitation of its frontiers or 
boundaries. 

Campbell, A., Miles. L., Lysenko, I., Hughes, A., Gibbs, H. 
2008. Carbon storage in protected areas: Technical report. 
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre 

This work has been supported by the Federal Ministry for the 
Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety 
(Germany). 

With thanks to: the protected areas team at UNEP-WCMC for 
encouragement in undertaking this project and support in the 
use of the World Database of Protected Areas; Bernardo 
Strassburg, Allan Spessa and Guido van der Werff for 
discussion of terrestrial carbon data sources; Neil Burgess, 
Charles Besancon, and Barney Dickson for comments on the 
draft. 






Contents 

Executive Summary / 

Introduction 3 

Section 1 - Carbon storage within the protected area network 5 

Methodology 5 

How much carbon is stored within the protected area network? 10 

Global protection 10 

Carbon outside the protected area network 1 1 

Regional protection 12 

Section 2 - The value of carbon stored within protected areas 16 

Section 3 - Comparison of regional and global results 19 

Above ground biomass - Brazilian Amazon 19 

Soil carbon -Canada 21 

Section 4 - Carbon and conservation priority areas 23 

Summary 26 

Scope for further research 27 

References 29 

Annex 1 - Carbon storage in ecosystems data review 31 

Carbon in terrestrial ecosystems 31 

Carbon in marine ecosystems 38 

Annex 2 - Valuing carbon storage within ecosystems 49 

Carbon markets 50 

Forestry carbon projects 52 

Figure 1: Global carbon stock density in terrestrial ecosystems 6 

Figure 2: Carbon stock density in tropical forest 7 

Figure 3: Terrestrial carbon stock in the protected area network by region 13 

Figure4: Regional variation in total carbon stores (Gt) across protected area 

categories 14 

Figure 5: Carbon density in Amazon Basin 19 

Figure 6: Carbon density in Carbon density in Amazon Basin 20 

Figure 8: Soil carbon density in Canada 21 

Figure 9: Peat carbon component density in selected Canadian landscapes 22 

Figure 10: Protected areas and carbon storage, Tanzania 24 

Figure 1 1 : Carbon and biodiversity values, Tanzania 25 

Figure 12: Protected areas and carbon storage, Papua New Guinea 25 

Figure 13: Carbon and biodiversity values, Papua New Guinea 26 

Table 1: Global terrestrial carbon storage in protected areas 10 

Table 2: Estimated carbon storage within protected areas (Gt), by region 13 

Table 3: Regional variation in carbon density 15 

Table 4: Estimated value of carbon storage within protected areas (Gt), by region... 17 

Table 5: Global datasets considered- carbon stored in vegetation 32 

Table 6: Selected regional studies considered for use 35 

Table 7: Carbon market Transactions and Values, 2006 and 2007 50 

Table 8. Percentage share of land use project types in the voluntary market 52 

Table 9. market values for carbon in forest sector. Price of land based offsets 53 



Executive Suinmai7 

Carbon emissions from deforestation account for an estimated 20% of global carbon 
emissions (IPCC 2007); second only to that produced by fossil fuel combustion. To 
successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land cover change, effective 
strategies for protecting natural habitats are needed. Designation of new protected 
areas and strengthening of the current protected area network could form one 
contribution towards achieving this. Protected areas are designated with the objectives 
of conserving biodiversity, but also fulfil an important role in maintaining terrestrial 
carbon stocks, especially where there is little other remaining natural vegetation 
cover. Knowledge of the carbon storage function of protected areas would therefore 
be a useful input into the development of strategies for reducing emissions from land 
use change; in particular, it is relevant to the current discussions surrounding reducing 
emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) under the UN 
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

Our assessment of carbon storage in protected areas integrates information from the 
best available data sources, with the aim of informing decision-making at global, 
regional and national levels. Earth's terrestrial ecosystems are estimated to store 
around 2,050 gigatons (Gt) of carbon in their biomass and soil (to 1 m depth). 
Protected areas worldwide cover 12.2% of the land surface, and contain over 312 
GtC, or 15.2% of the global terrestrial carbon stock. 

This estimate is broken down by region and lUCN protected area management 
category. South America is notable for both its large volume of carbon and for the 
high proportion of this carbon stored within protected areas; 27% of a total store of 
340 GtC. By way of contrast, the Pacific has a low total carbon store but a high 
carbon density, and only 4% is stored within protected areas. Increasing protected 
area coverage in this region would provide a higher carbon benefit per unit area than 
for other regions. Amongst the lUCN categories, only 4% of the carbon stock is 
contained within protected areas designated under categories I-II, which generally 
place stringent restrictions on resource use. More research is required into the carbon 
storage implications of the various types of protected area management. A greater 
level of carbon loss would be expected from areas allowing sustainable forest 
management, for example, than those that restrict use of forest resources. A notional 
estimate of the financial value of the carbon storage services provided by the world's 
protected area network is also presented. If all of the carbon stored within ecosystems 
were to be valued according to current carbon market prices, it would have an 
estimated worth of €5,700 billion 

The data presented also allow identification of areas of high carbon value which are 
not covered by the current protected areas network on a global and regional level. 
This also provides the opportunity to identify areas that are not just high in carbon, 
but also have high biodiversity value, increasing the scope for delivering 'multiple 
benefits' from climate mitigation. By way of demonstration, the global figures 
presented here were overlain with areas of high biodiversity, based on the spatial 
overlay of the outcomes of multiple conservation priority setting exercises, for 
Tanzania and Papua New Guinea. 



Contents 

Executive Summary 7 

Introduction 3 

Section 1 - Carbon storage witiiin the protected area network 5 

Methodology 5 

How much carbon is stored within the protected area network? 10 

Global protection 10 

Carbon outside the protected area network 1 1 

Regional protection 12 

Section 2 - The value of carbon stored within protected areas 16 

Section 3 - Comparison of regional and global results 19 

Above ground biomass - Brazilian Amazon 19 

Soil carbon -Canada 21 

Section 4 - Carbon and conservation priority areas 23 

Summary 26 

Scope for further research 27 

References 29 

Annex 1 -Carbon storage in ecosystems data review 31 

Carbon in terrestrial ecosystems 31 

Carbon in marine ecosystems 38 

Annex 2 - Valuing carbon storage within ecosystems 49 

Carbon markets 50 

Forestry carbon projects 52 

Figure 1; Global carbon stock density in terrestrial ecosystems 6 

Figure 2: Carbon stock density in tropical forest 7 

Figure 3: Terrestrial carbon stock in the protected area network by region 13 

Figure4: Regional variation in total carbon stores (Gt) across protected area 

categories 14 

Figure 5: Carbon density in Amazon Basin 19 

Figure 6: Carbon density in Carbon density in Amazon Basin 20 

Figure 8: Soil carbon density in Canada 21 

Figure 9: Peat carbon component density in selected Canadian landscapes 22 

Figure 10: Protected areas and carbon storage, Tanzania 24 

Figure 11: Carbon and biodiversity values, Tanzania 25 

Figure 12: Protected areas and carbon storage, Papua New Guinea 25 

Figure 13: Carbon and biodiversity values, Papua New Guinea 26 

Table 1: Global terrestrial carbon storage in protected areas 10 

Table 2: Estimated carbon storage within protected areas (Gt), by region 13 

Table 3: Regional variation in carbon density 15 

Table 4: Estimated value of carbon storage within protected areas (Gt), by region... 17 

Table 5: Global datasets considered- carbon stored in vegetation 32 

Table 6: Selected regional studies considered for use 35 

Table 7: Carbon market Transactions and Values, 2006 and 2007 50 

Table 8. Percentage share of land use project types in the voluntary market 52 

Table 9. market values for carbon in forest sector. Price of land based offsets 53 



Executive Siimmai-y 

Carbon emissions from deforestation account for an estimated 20% of global carbon 
emissions (IPCC 2007); second only to that produced by fossil fuel combustion. To 
successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land cover change, effective 
strategies for protecting natural habitats are needed. Designation of new protected 
areas and strengthening of the current protected area network could form one 
contribution towards achieving this. Protected areas are designated with the objectives 
of conserving biodiversity, but also fulfil an important role in maintaining terrestrial 
carbon stocks, especially where there is little other remaining natural vegetation 
cover. Knowledge of the carbon storage function of protected areas would therefore 
be a useful input into the development of strategies for reducing emissions from land 
use change; in particular, it is relevant to the current discussions surrounding reducing 
emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) under the UN 
Framework Convention on CUmate Change (UNFCCC). 

Our assessment of carbon storage in protected areas integrates information from the 
best available data sources, with the aim of informing decision-making at global, 
regional and national levels. Earth's terrestrial ecosystems are estimated to store 
around 2,050 gigatons (Gt) of carbon in their biomass and soil (to 1 m depth). 
Protected areas worldwide cover 12.2% of the land surface, and contain over 312 
GtC, or 15.2% of the global terrestrial carbon stock. 

This estimate is broken down by region and lUCN protected area management 
category. South America is notable for both its large volume of carbon and for the 
high proportion of this carbon stored within protected areas; 27% of a total store of 
340 GtC. By way of contrast, the Pacific has a low total carbon store but a high 
carbon density, and only 4% is stored within protected areas. Increasing protected 
area coverage in this region would provide a higher carbon benefit per unit area than 
for other regions. Amongst the lUCN categories, only 4% of the carbon stock is 
contained within protected areas designated under categories I-II, which generally 
place stringent restrictions on resource use. More research is required into the carbon 
storage implications of the various types of protected area management. A greater 
level of carbon loss would be expected from areas allowing sustainable forest 
management, for example, than those that restrict use of forest resources. A notional 
estimate of the financial value of the carbon storage services provided by the world's 
protected area network is also presented. If all of the carbon stored within ecosystems 
were to be valued according to current carbon market prices, it would have an 
estimated worth of €5,700 billion 

The data presented also allow Identification of areas of high carbon value which are 
not covered by the current protected areas network on a global and regional level. 
This also provides the opportunity to identify areas that are not just high in carbon, 
but also have high biodiversity value, increasing the scope for delivering 'multiple 
benefits' from chmate mitigation. By way of demonstration, the global figures 
presented here were overlain with areas of high biodiversity, based on the spatial 
overlay of the outcomes of multiple conservation priority setting exercises, for 
Tanzania and Papua New Guinea. 



The estimates reported here should be viewed in the context of our knowledge of the 
success of protected areas in reducing or halting land cover change. Evidence suggests 
that protected areas are effective at reducing land cover change within their 
boundaries (Clark et al. 2008), although one issue rarely taken into account is that of 
leakage. While protected areas may effectively reduce deforestation within their 
borders, there is a risk that deforestation pressures are merely displaced elsewhere; 
either to other areas of forest or to other ecosystems entirely. This highlights the issue 
that although the total figures for carbon within protected areas appear high; this is 
still a small proportion of the global terrestrial carbon stock. 85% of the global carbon 
stock lies outside of the protected area network, and could be considered more 
vulnerable to release through land use change. Forests are not the only ecosystem that 
store carbon and this should be taken into account in the development of climate 
change mitigation policies; in particular there is a large carbon store in northern 
latitude soils and peatland. It is vitai from a climate change perspective that this 
carbon is managed appropriately. 

It is clear that there is no 'one size fits all' approach to protecting carbon stocks within 
terrestrial habitats. Other land use options for the protection of carbon should be 
incorporated, including through community-conserved areas and the development of 
best practices for land management and land use planning. The implementation of 
REDD on a large scale is unlikely to be feasible without the support of indigenous and 
local communities. The official recognition and encouragement of community-based 
forest management is becoming more widespread, and could also become a viable 
component of, or complement to, protected areas in reducing deforestation. 

Although it is recognised that extension or strengthening of the protected area 
network is only one possible element in the management of terrestrial carbon, the 
large amount of carbon stored within protected areas, particularly in proportion to the 
land area covered, suggests that protected areas could play a role in climate change 
mitigation. Investment in a protected area network could be a valuable component of 
a national strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, 
in support of the objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 



Introduction 

Recent recognition of the importance of land use change in the carbon cycle, and the 
commitment to include reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation 
(REDD) in the post-2012 agreements of the UNFCCC, has raised the policy relevance 
of carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems. Research has traditionally focused on the 
role of ecosystems as carbon sinks, rather than as potential sources, but the 
importance in climate change mitigation of protecting the existing carbon stocks is 
becoming increasingly recognised. Depending on the method of forest clearing and 
the subsequent use of the felled trees and land, deforestation not only releases carbon 
stored in the above ground biomass, but leads to decomposition of roots and 
mobilization of soil carbon. Global greenhouse gas emissions from changes in land 
use. including tropical deforestation, are estimated to make up around 20% of annual 
global emissions from all sources (IPCC 2007), though there is a high level of 
uncertainty attached to the precise figure. Forest degradation, the loss of carbon stocks 
from land still officially designated as forest, adds another unquantified volume of 
CO:-equivalent gases to the atmosphere every year. Forest fragmentation and 
degradation also increase the risk of forest fires, which release further carbon 
emissions and increase susceptibility to future fires. 

Protected areas are primarily designated for the purpose of biodiversity conservation, 
but have a substantial additional value in maintaining ecosystem services; including 
climate regulation through carbon storage. Despite this, there is little knowledge of 
the carbon storage within the world's protected area network, and no global scale 
estimate has previously been produced. Such knowledge would quantify one of the 
multiple benefits provided by protected areas, which could be useful in protected area 
planning and financing. Discussions at the recent UNFCCC s 13"' Conference of the 
Parties focussed on guidance for demonstration (pilot) REDD projects, potential 
policy mechanisms and incentives for developing countries. The precise form of any 
future REDD mechanism as part of a post-2012 emissions reduction agreement is yet 
to be determined. 

In the context of the carbon stocks already under protection, a distinction should be 
made between the actual process of reducing emissions from land use change, and the 
proposed REDD mechanism under discussion at the UNFCCC. Whilst the current 
protected area network undoubtedly plays a role in conserving the carbon stock, it is 
not clear whether existing protected stocks will be included in a REDD mechanism. 
Currently, there are a number of options on the table, including the measurement of 
emissions from deforestation and degradation against past rates of deforestation; with 
compensation for existing protected stocks not out of the question but appearing less 
likely. This should be taken into account when reading this report, which has a focus 
on the potential role of protected areas in the actual achievement of reductions in 
emissions from land use. 

The global protected area network contains many ecosystem types other than forest, 
each with its own carbon storage capacity. This technical report presents an estimate 
of the total carbon storage function of protected areas. The report is broken down into 
four main sections, with background information reported in the Annexes. Section 1 
reports the level of carbon storage within the protected area network, broken down by 
region and according to the lUCN protected area management category. A rough 



estimate of the financial value of the carbon storage services provided by the global 
protected area network is presented in Section 2. Section 3 presents the regional 
analyses used to validate the global data, and the outputs of this study are 
contextualised in Section 4 through a demonstration of the potential use of the data in 
identifying areas of high carbon and high biodiversity areas in Papua New Guinea and 
Tanzania. A review of the available carbon storage datasets used to produce the global 
carbon map, and a review of carbon market values used in the selection of an 
estimated value for terrestrial carbon can be found in Annexes 1 and 2 respectively 

This work illustrates the potential role of protected areas in climate change mitigation 
and will be a useful input to current discussions on a mechanism for reducing 
emissions from deforestation (REDD) under the UN Framework Convention on 
Climate Change (UNFCCC), or any other mechanism for protecting carbon stored 
within ecosystems. 



Section 1 - Carbon storage within the protected area network 
Methodology 

Global carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems 

The methods for estimating carbon storage vary widely, and no single method is 
considered highly accurate. The use of improved technology for biomass estimation 
and databases for soil carbon estimation is likely to improve the accuracy of carbon 
estimates in coming years. A global scale dataset on carbon in live biomass (Ruesch 
& Gibbs, in review), and a dataset on soil carbon produced by the International 
Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP-DIS 2000) were selected for use in this 
analysis following a comprehensive review of the available data (Annex 1). 

The biomass carbon stock data were estimated using the Intergovernmental Panel on 
Climate Change (IPCC) Tier-1 approach (IPCC 2006, Gibbs et al. 2007). A combined 
map of carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems was produced using globally 
consistent estimates for above and below ground biomass. These are the most recent 
estimates available for global vegetation carbon, and the only global estimates to 
follow IPCC Good Practice Guidance for reporting greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 
2006). 

It is also important to quantify soil carbon storage, as research has suggested that soil 
carbon accounted for 28% of net loss from land use change in the period 1850-1990 
(Houghton 2005). A soil organic carbon dataset (SOC), published by the IGBP in 
1998, was selected for use in this study (IGBP-DIS 2000) on the basis of availability, 
scale and provenance. It estimates organic carbon density to 1 m depth, at 5 minute 
resolution, which is appropriate for quantifying SOC in most cases, but undoubtedly 
underestimates SOC storage in deeper peatland systems. No global spatially explicit 
map of peat extent and depth is yet available, and this is an acknowledged limitation 
of the current data, particularly given that peatlands have been estimated to contain at 
least 550Gt of carbon, containing as much carbon as all terrestrial biomass but 
covering only 3% of the land areas (Parish et al. 2008). 

A globally consistent map of carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems ( 
Figure 1) was produced by combining a number of datasets 

1. Global biomass carbon stock map based on IPCC Tier-1 Methodology. 
(Ruesch & Gibbs, in review). 

2. Global Soil Data Products CD-ROM. (IGBP-DIS 2000). 

3. Coastlines and country's boundaries of the world AVorld Vector shoreline 
plus, S"' edition, (the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, 2004) 

4. Area Correction Global Grid, ACGG. (UNEP-WCMC 2007) 

ACGG, the global raster dataset (Arclnfo Grid format) identifying the actual area of a 
grid cell on the Earth surface in km" (with a precision of 0.001 km" for cells of 0.0045 
degree resolution; about 500 meters on the equator, henceforth referred to as 
"standard resolution"), was applied as a template for all intermediate maps and the 
final combined map. All original sources and outputs were maintained and analysed in 
the common original projection (Geographic, spheroid/datum WGS84). ACGG values 
were applied to reflect on-the-surface grid cell size change at various latitudes; in 



particular in calculation of areas and other statistics derived from the combination of 
area and other parameters (e.g. carbon stock within a particular region derived from 
carbon density values). 

World Vector Shoreline Plus (vector dataset) was applied as a high resolution 
(1:250,000) basemap. It was converted into the standard resolution raster (Arclnfo 
Grid format). 

Both biomass carbon and soil carbon maps (raster datasets) were converted into the 
standard resolution grids. As the original resolution of these data was lower than 
required, minor amendments were applied to ensure that the whole terrestrial area was 
covered by the combined map. These minor amendments included elimination of the 
area falling beyond the extent of the basemap over the coastline, and the assignment 
of the nearest cell value to terrestrial areas close to the coastline that had been omitted 
in the original sources due to lower raster resolution. The total extent of the area 
where this extrapolation applied did not exceed 0.5% of the total land surface. 




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Figure 1: Global carbon stock density in terrestrial ecosystems (above and below 
ground biomass plus soil carbon) (Gibbs et al. 2007; Ruesch & Gibbs in review; 
IGBP 2000) 

A carbon stock estimate for tropical forest is also presented (Figure 2), as an example 
of how the carbon data can be separated according to ecosystem and region of 
interest. 



On a global scale, the use of biome averages and the increased uncertainty of carbon 
storage estimates for higher biomass classes tend to lead to a less accurate picture for 
individual regions than equivalent regional maps (Annex 1). Whilst much variability 
can be found at a regional scale, these biome-based estimates do provide a consistent 
indicative picture of the pattern of carbon storage. 



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Selection of regional data 

There are a large number of national and regional estimates of carbon storage in 
terrestrial ecosystems (Annex I, Table 6). Such estimates tend to be more accurate 
because they are extrapolated over smaller scales, rely on better inventory data, and 
can account for spatial variation in more detail. Comparisons of the global datasets 
used in this analysis with regional data were carried out for the purposes of data 
validation. 

Datasets for biomass in the Amazon Basin (Saatchi et al. 2007) and SOC in Canada 
(Tamcoi & Lacelle 1996) were selected to assess the accuracy of the global data for 
both biomass and soil in two areas of high carbon storage. Following review of 
available estimates (Annex 1 ), both datasets were considered to be the most accurate 
available both for the regions and carbon pools that they provide estimates for. 
Although other datasets for the Amazon could be considered equally accurate, they do 
not provide estimates for all vegetation classes. 



Selection of protected area data 

Broadly speaking, protected areas can be defined as areas of land or sea "dedicated to 
the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and of natural and associated 
cultural resources, managed through legal or other effective means" (lUCN 1994). 
Protected area data were obtained from the Worid Database on Protected Areas 
(WDPA), which holds spatial and attribute information on over 120,000 nationally 
and internationally protected sites. 

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (lUCN) describes six 
management categories for protected areas, according to the objectives for 
management. Any protected area must have biodiversity conservation as a major aim, 
but the degree of permitted use varies. Amongst the categories, I and II are more 
restrictive; III and IV are variable, whereas V and VI explicitly recognise sustainable 
use as an appropriate land use. The WDPA also holds information on a large number 
of protected areas that have no formal designation or for which the designation is not 
known, and for areas that may not meet the protected area definitions such as forest 
reserves or community conservation areas. Difficulties with data validation are an 
acknowledged limitation of the WDPA, as the data is received from a number of 
different sources. Whilst this is true for all of the data contained within the WDPA, 
data for which an lUCN category has been provided is considered to be more robust 
than that for which designation is unknown. The WDPA is currently undergoing 
redevelopment to improve data validation processes. 

For the purposes of this analysis, all WDPA sites were incorporated to allow inclusion 
of those areas that meet the protected area definition, but may not have an lUCN 
management category recorded. In addition, it was considered that any area of land 
with some degree of protection conferred upon it should be included in the analysis. 
For reporting purposes, all sites stored within the WDPA will be referred to as 
'protected areas' in full recognition that these areas may not have official protection 
status. 

The results are presented initially for carbon stored in all WDPA sites (including 
those with no lUCN category). In view of the fact that not all protected areas are 



managed for the same purpose, as defined above, the results are also broken down 
into protected area categories I-II, I-IV, I-VI. This allows for some degree of 
separation of: 

a) The areas of land that have been given management categories (and are 
therefore more likely to be officially recognised protected areas) from those 
that may be forest reserves 

b) Protected areas that allow different degrees of resource use and land use 
change, as defined by the lUCN protected area management category 
(outlined above). 

This separation is made for the purposes of comment on the potential level of 
protection afforded to the carbon. For example, substantial land cover change would 
not be expected in any protected area, but increases in sustainable use of land within 
categories V and VI might be expected, with implications for the carbon stored in that 
area. It should be noted that this analysis does not incorporate any actual measure of 
the likelihood that the carbon will be conserved within protected sites. 



Production of the global carbon storage within protected areas map 

The globally consistent map of carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems was overlaid 
with data from the WDPA. 

To enable overlay of the protected areas with the combined carbon density maps, the 
vector data from the WDPA (UNEP-WCMC & lUCN, version 2007) were converted 
to the standard resolution raster. This process was straightforward for polygonal data. 
Additional data represented only by approximate location of the protected area 
(latitude/longitude) and its total area were transformed into proportional circles, 
centred at the given location and equal in area to the size recorded in the WDPA. 
These new polygons were also converted into the raster and incorporated, as they 
provided additional data for the analysis. Although this method assumes considerable 
distortion for particular protected areas boundaries, it is widely applied for protected 
coverage estimates over large territories, and at the continental or global level 
potential distortion in coverage assessment does not exceed 3-4 %, according to our 
calculations. Polygonal layers of protected areas, in particular lUCN category I-VI 
and protected areas with no lUCN category assigned, were converted to separate 
raster datasets. 

All of the maps represented in this report were produced using the combined raster 
map of a carbon class and relevant protected areas class (one or more categories 
brought into a single raster). It should be noted that, due to overlap between various 
categories of protected area, statistics on total extent or carbon content within 
categories and groups of categories of protected areas cannot be calculated as a simple 
sum of relevant totals. All calculations were based on spatial analysis, through 
identification of the actual total extent of protected areas, and overlay of this 
intermediate dataset with the rasters identifying the carbon content distribution. 
Analyses were conducted using ESRI ArcGIS 9.2 with the Spatial Analyst extension. 



How much carbon is stored within the protected area network? 

Global protection 

The combined map of global carbon storage (Figure 1) shows that earth's terrestrial 
ecosystems store an estimated 2,052 gigatons (Gt) of carbon in their biomass and soil. 
Two distinct bands of high carbon density can be noted in the northern latitudes and 
the tropics. 

According to our estimates, 15.2% of the global carbon stock is contained within the 
protected area network, highlighting the relevance of protected areas to climate 
change mitigation. As protected areas cover 12.2% of the land area (according to the 
criteria used in this analysis) (Table 1), they capture a proportionately high amount of 
carbon given that they were not designated for this purpose. There are a number of 
potential reasons for the high carbon benefit of protected areas; it could be that high 
carbon areas such as tropical forest are more likely to be protected, or it could be the 
case that much of the carbon in non-protected areas has been lost already. Clearly, 
land that has akeady been cleared for agriculture or urban growth will have lower 
carbon content than land that has been protected; this factor was not incorporated into 
our analysis. Conversely, some protected areas cover rock and ice deserts that would 
not be expected to have high carbon content. Regardless, it appears that protected 
areas could have a role to play in future ecosystem based climate change policies. 

A total of 312 Gt carbon is currently under some degree of protection (taking into 
account all sites within the WDPA) which would be equivalent to 1 142 Gt COi if lost 
to the atmosphere; or more than 43 times the total annual global emissions from fossil 
fuel (26.4Gt; IPCC, 2007). This comparison is made for perspective only; even if all 
protected areas were converted to a different land use not all of this carbon would be 
released to the atmosphere. A large amount of carbon will likely be emitted from 
conversion of forest to agriculture, for example, but this will also depend on the type 
of agriculture and the management of the agricultural land. The loss of 2.5% of 
carbon within protected areas would result in higher carbon dioxide emissions than an 
entire year of fossil fuel combustion. 

Table 1: Global terrestrial carbon storage in protected areas 



Protected area category 


% land cover 
protected 


Total carbon 
stored (Gt) 


% terrestrial carbon 
stock in protected 
areas 


lUCN category l-Il 


3.8 


87 


4.2 


lUCN category 1-IV 


5.7 


139 


6.8 


lUCN category 1-Vl 


9.7 


233 


11 


AU WDPA sites 


12.2 


312 


15.2 



The extent to which protected areas are effective at conserving their carbon stores is 
another question. This depends on a number of factors such as whether areas are 
actively managed, the level of enforcement, the level of resource use permitted, land 
use change pressures, and governance. Much of the study on this topic has focused 
upon forested protected areas, and a review of the evidence suggests that protected 
areas are an effective tool for reducing deforestation within their boundaries; that is, 
there is usually less deforestation within formally protected areas than in their 
immediate suiroundings (Clark et al. 2008). 



10 



Clark et al. (2008) also identified that protected areas designated under categories I-II 
seem to be more effective at reducing deforestation than those which include a focus 
on sustainable use (V-VI); although there are comparatively few studies on 
deforestation rates within category V-VI protected areas. This is an important point to 
consider, as protected area categories I-II, which are the most restrictive in terms of 
land use, store only 4.2% of the carbon stock ( 

Table 1), whereas double the percentage of total carbon stock is protected when 
considering categories I-VI. It could be expected that some carbon may be lost from 
the less restrictive protected areas through, for example, the sustainable use permitted 
in category V-VI areas; but conversely this may avoid leakage of deforestation to 
other areas. More research would be required into the impact of such management 
practices on carbon stocks, and the type of land use permitted in each protected area, 
before even qualitative statements as to the carbon storage value of the different 
protected area management categories could be made. Analysis of the potential 
carbon protection benefit of protected areas in terms of the emissions that would 
likely be prevented through protection of carbon 'on the ground' is beyond the scope 
of this present study 

Carbon outside the protected area network 

Although protected areas clearly have a large carbon storage benefit, there is still a 
total of 1,740 Gt of carbon lying outside of the protected area network. This carbon 
could be considered more vulnerable to release into the atmosphere if fewer 
restrictions are placed on land use change. There have been very few studies able to 
quantify, for example, the extent to which land-use change is displaced from protected 
areas to surrounding land, although there is some evidence that this does occur (Ewers 
& Rodrigues 2008). Although the reduction of carbon emissions is undoubtedly the 
first priority of policies such as REDD, from a conservation perspective the potential 
for land use change to be displaced into lower carbon areas with high biodiversity 
value needs to be considered. Even purely from a carbon perspective there is a risk of 
displacement into high carbon non-forest areas. Efforts to reduce emissions from land 
based carbon should not focus on forests alone (Miles & Kapos 2008). 

Protected areas are not the only tool that should be utilised in protecting the carbon 
stored in terrestrial ecosystems. Community conserved areas (CCAs) and Indigenous 
lands have been shown to be effective tools for reducing deforestation, even more so 
than many protected areas (Clark et al. 2008). The potential for reducing carbon 
emissions through improved forest management is another avenue for exploration, 
and is particularly important if we are to reduce emissions from forest degradation. A 
recent study has reported that reduced impact logging can reduce carbon emissions by 
approximately 30% over conventional logging, and estimated that improving logging 
practices in managed forests globally could retain at least 1.6Gt carbon per year (Putz 
et al. 2008); more carbon than is currently protected in the Pacific (Figure 3). In 
addition, participatory forest management in Tanzania has been shown to lead to 
improved forest condition (Blomley et al. 2008). From a climate change mitigation 
perspective, the high amount of carbon outside of the protected area network suggests 
a need to both ensure the protection of carbon within protected areas, and to improve 
land use planning and management in areas identified as high in carbon content, for 
which the designation of new protected areas would only be one available option. 



11 



Regional protection 

There are regional variations in both the total carbon store and the amount that is 
protected (Figure 3). Although the data reported here gives an overview, ideally more 
accurate regional source data would be used to determine carbon protection priorities. 

For the purposes of this study, the global map was divided into major continuous 
geographical regions. The largest carbon stores can be found in North Eurasia, North 
America, South America and Africa (Figure 3). Protected areas in South America 
store the most carbon, both in absolute terms (91Gt) and as a proportion of total stock 
(27%; Table 2). Comparatively high levels of protection can also be seen in Central 
America & Caribbean and Greenland (although these regions have a low total stock 
and the carbon is arguably less vulnerable to disturbance as fewer pressures are acting 
upon the land). 

Low levels of protection are evident in North Eurasia, with only 8.8% of carbon 
protected out of the largest regional carbon stock. This is likely due to the large 
amounts of carbon stored in the biomass, and particularly the soils, of the large tracts 
of mostly unprotected boreal forest in this region (Schmitt et al. 2008). Again, this is 
not to say that the carbon stored in these areas is necessarily more vulnerable to 
release, as the land is arguably subject to less land-use pressure than carbon outside 
protected areas in tropical regions. Indonesia, for example, has high deforestation 
rates (Hansen et al. 2008) due to factors such as oil palm expansion (Nellemann et al. 
2007) which can involve emissions from the burning of high carbon peatland as well 
as that from deforestation. It could be considered that the estimate of only 15% of 
carbon protected in this region is of more concern than the lower levels of protection 
in North Eurasia. Indeed, although South America has the highest amount of carbon 
protected, a recent study has estimated that over three-fifths of forest clearing occurs 
in this region (mostly in Brazil; Hansen et al. 2008), suggesting a need for increased 
conservation and protection measures. 

As specified previously, the figures reported above in Figure 3 and Table 2 are for all 
sites within the WDPA, including those designated under the less restrictive land use 
categories V-VI and those that have not been assigned an lUCN management 
category. Estimates for the total carbon storage for each region under protected area 
categories I-II, I-IV, I-VI, and all protected areas are shown in Figure 4, ranked 
according to land area. 

Two thirds of the large amounts of carbon protected in South America are in the less 
restrictive protected areas, and the majority of the 20Gt total is protected in categories 
V-VI in East Asia. Generally, between a third and a half of the protected area carbon 
is stored in the more restrictive categories I-IV across the regions, with the exceptions 
of Australia/New Zealand, North Eurasia and Greenland 



12 



Table 2: Estimated carbon storage within protected areas (Gt), by region. 
Percentages calculated from carbon figures in tonnes, rather than the 
Gigatonnes presented here. 



Region 
number 


Region 


Terrestrial carbon stock, Gt 


Carbon in 
protected areas, 

% 


Total 


In protected 
areas 


1 


North America 


388 


59 


15.1 


2 


Greenland 


5 


2 


51.2 


3 


Central America & 
Caribbean 


16 


4 


25.2 


4 


South America 


341 


91 


26.8 


5 


Europe 


100 


14 


13.6 


6 


North Eurasia 


404 


36 


8.8 


7 


Africa 


356 


49 


13.7 


8 


Middle East 


44 


3 


7.8 


9 


South Asia 


54 


4 


7.2 


10 


East Asia 


124 


20 


16.3 


11 


South East Asia 


132 


20 


15.0 


12 


Australia/New Zealand 


85 


10 


12.0 


13 


Pacific 


3 


0.1 


4.3 


14 


Antarctic & peripheral 
islands 


1 


<0.1 


0.3 



6 




--i.^-:?^^ 




•=a»- J 




^^ 


(i 










-N - " a 


iC^^ 




^^^B 


hURHRS^ g_ "' 




y^mm 




^ s. ^^ 


/"^ j^^^M 




c 


j^^^^^SI^LM^*7^^^ 


w 


- 1 ^ 

•A 

1 


y^^^sn^ 


y 


i^ 


IP 




.'^^^ iii y 




[^ 


1 "* ^J 


F 


1 iJ 


W 


> 




'y 



Figure 3: Terrestrial carbon stock in the protected area network by region. Total 
(proportional pie-charts), and stored within the protected areas network (green 
segments); red numbers are region numbers from Table 2. 



13 



Africa 



N. Eurasia 



49 

■ ■■■-■■I 

Ml NV l-VI AIIWOPA Nt l-IV l-V! AIIWDPA 

91 

N.AmerJca S.America J|| 

■ il 

rnv i-vi AIIWDPA 



59 



Jl 



l-ll HV I-VI AIIWDPA l-ll 



East Asia 



Australia / N . Zealand 



l-VI AJI WDPA 



Middle East 



Europe 



l-VI All WDPA 



l-VI All WDPA 



SEAsia 



S.Asia 



l-VI AIIWDPA 



l-Vl All WDPA 



C.America & Caribbean 



Pacific 



l-VI AIIWDPA 



0.06 0,08 0.09 0.11 



l-VI AIIWDPA 



Figure 4: Regional variation in total carbon stores (Gt) across protected area categories. 
Regions are ordered according to land area (Greenland and Antarctic not sliown). 



14 



A large proportion of carbon protected in Africa and South America is in areas which 
do not have an lUCN management category. Again, it is not clear what implication 
this has for the vulnerability of the carbon store within protected areas, although as 
discussed earlier categories I-II are more successful in reducing deforestation (Clark 
et al. 2008) and by definition are more restrictive of land use change. 

Total figures of carbon storage in each region are clearly important for carbon 
accounting, and quantifying the current carbon storage benefits of the protected area 
network. However, as suggested in Figure 4, regional totals are in general indicative 
of the land area of the region, rather than 'carbon richness' per se. It is perhaps more 
appropriate to consider the carbon density of an area when, for example, identifying 
priority areas for REDD. Such patterns can be more readily seen when regions are 
ranked by land area, and the amount of carbon per hectare of land is displayed (Table 

3)- 

Table 3: Regional variation in carbon density 



Region 


Land area 
(million km2) 


Total carbon stock 
(Gt) 


Carbon density 
t/ha 


Africa 


30 


388 


119 


North 
Eurasia 


22 


5 


185 


North America 


21 


16 


182 


South America 


18 


341 


192 


Antarctic 


14 


100 


0.4 


East Asia 


12 


404 


108 


Australia/New Zealand 


8 


356 


107 


Middle East 


7 


44 


66 


Europe 


5 


54 


195 


South East Asia 


5 


124 


267 


South Asia 


4 


132 


120 


Greenland 


-1 


85 


21 


Mesoamerica & Caribbean 


0.8 


3 


214 


Pacific 


0.1 


1 


239 



Although comparatively low in total carbon stocks, it is clear that the South East Asia, 
Central America & Caribbean, and Pacific regions could be considered 'high carbon 
density' areas. In addition to this, the Pacific has the lowest proportion of total carbon 
stock within protected areas at 4% (not inclusive of Antarctica), despite the fact that 
more carbon would be protected per hectare of land protected than in any of the other 
region outside of South East Asia. Purely from a carbon storage perspective, 
increasing protection in these regions would provide more 'value for money' than 
anywhere else on the globe. In addition, a low total land area but high carbon density 
would suggest that carbon could be vulnerable to land use pressures in these areas. It 
appears appropriate therefore, that Papua New Guinea is a potential pilot country to 
receive assistance in developing and implementing REDD strategies. Further 
information of high carbon density and high biodiversity area mapping in Papua New 
Guinea can be found in Section 4. 



15 



It is clear that protected areas have the potential to make a useful contribution to 
protecting carbon stored in ecosystems. However, evidence shows that they need 
proper investment if they are to be effective at avoiding land use change (or carbon 
loss through land degradation), and therefore act as effective tools for the protection 
of carbon stores. A lack of sustainable financing for the protected area network has 
clearly been a barrier to effective protected area management in the past. The 
following section of this report considers the notional value of the protected area 
network, if the carbon stored within protected areas was to be valued according to 
current market prices. 

Section 2 - The value of carbon .stored within protected areas 

Carbon emissions from deforestation account for an estimated 20% of global carbon 
emissions (IPCC 2007); second only to that produced by fossil fuel combustion. 
Despite this, projects relating to Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry 
(LULUCF) in 2006 accounted for only 1% of an international carbon market that has 
risen to US$64 billion (€47 billion) in 2007 (Capoor & Ambrosi 2008). Given the 
contribution of deforestation and land degradation to carbon emissions, it is likely that 
the value of carbon storage in ecosystems will increase, particularly as the overall 
carbon market is projected to increase in value (Annex 2). 

For the first time, one of the non-provisioning ecosystem services provided by 
protected areas has a financial market associated with it in which the international 
community is engaged. In addition, the data presented here has gone some way 
towards quantifying the carbon storage service provided by protected areas; providing 
an opportunity to illustrate the value of carbon stored within protected areas if it was 
to be traded on the current carbon market. 

A notional value of the carbon stored within the protected area network is presented 
here, based on a review of carbon markets, and the current levels of finance attached 
to land-use based carbon (Annex 2). From the values reviewed, it would appear that a 
reasonable range for the valuation of carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems is €1-10 
for the retail price. Within this, a conservative estimate of €3 - €7 at the higher end 
would appear acceptable for carbon stored in ecosystems across the board, based upon 
the range of current market prices and considering that forestry based projects 
command higher prices within the voluntary market, whereas carbon stored within 
other ecosystems will undoubtedly command a lower price (Annex 2). 

The price of stored carbon will be variable, and any single value placed on carbon 
stored in ecosystems should therefore be considered very speculative, particularly 
given that the scale of the market is yet to be determined through, for example, REDD 
implementation. In addition, the access that carbon already stored within the protected 
area network would have to carbon finance is not clear. The values reported below 
should be viewed only as an indication of the worth of carbon stored in protected 
areas according to current market prices, rather than an estimation of their value. The 
notional estimates are reported with full recognition that not all carbon stored in 
ecosystems will have a financial value, and that the value will differ for carbon from 
different sources and regions. 



16 



Estimates of the financial value of carbon stored within protected areas by region 
(Table 4) are based on the application of values of €3, €5, and 7€ /tCOie to all carbon 
stored in the protected area network. The mid-range value of €5 /tC02e gives an 
estimate of €5,700 billion for the carbon within protected areas, if it were valued at 
current market prices. Even taking the lower range estimates of €3 and €1, the value is 
more than €1,100 bilhon. Again, this should not be taken as an estimate of protected 
area value; such comparisons are problematic as it is not possible to equate stored 
carbon to carbon 'not emitted'. 

Table 4: Estimated value of carbon storage within protected areas by region 



Region 


Carbon 
stock 
(Gt) 


Co2e (Gt) 


Notional value 
(Cbillion) 


Notional 

value 
(Cbillion) 


Notional 

value 
(Cbillion) 


(-notional 

value at 

€1) 


Priced at €3 


Priced at €5 


Priced at €7 


North America 


59 


215 


644 


1,074 


1,504 


Greenland 


2 


9 


26 


43 


60 


Central America 
& Caribbean 


4 


15 


45 


75 


105 


South America 


91 


334 


1,003 


1,671 


2,339 


Europe 


14 


49 


148 


247 


346 


North Eurasia 


36 


130 


390 


650 


910 


Africa 


49 


179 


537 


895 


1,253 


Middle East 


3 


12 


37 


62 


87 


South Asia 


4 


14 


43 


71 


99 


East Asia 


20 


74 


222 


371 


519 


South East Asia 


20 


73 


218 


363 


508 


Australia/New 
Zealand 


10 


37 


112 


186 


261 


Pacific 


0.1 


0.4 


1 


2 


3 


Antarctic & 

peripheral 

islands 


0.002 


0.007 


0.02 


0.04 


0.05 


TOTAL 


312 


1,142 


3,425 


5,709 


7,992 



To put these figures in context, it has been estimated that $6 billion per year is spent 
on protected area management, less than 12% of which is spent in developing 
countries (Balmford et al. 2003). Balmford et al. (2003) also estimated the costs of 
effective protected areas in densely settled regions of Latin and Central America, 
Africa, and Asia; and found that costs ranged from $130/km2/year, to $5,000/km2/yr, 
with typical costs falling in the region of $ 1 ,000/km2/yr. Moore et al. (2004) 
estimated that the entire budget for ecoregion conservation in Africa would be $630 
million. However, the calculation above based on total stock is different from the 
value calculated on the basis of emissions avoided, and such carbon finance will 
mostly be made available through REDD. As noted previously, the position of 
protected areas within a REDD mechanism is unclear, and it is most likely that the 



17 



current protected area network would only receive a portion of REDD finance if they 
were demonstrably at risk of deforestation. Tiie identification of such areas would be 
a useful topic for further analysis. 

Consideration of the value of carbon storage within protected areas also provides no 
indication of the mechanisms through which this money could be made available, nor 
the stakeholders to whom the finance would be available to. Whilst such a discussion 
is beyond the scope of this report, it is worth noting that this is a major issue for 
REDD. There are no guarantees that even for new protected areas included in a 
REDD mechanism carbon finance from national level systems will come back to the 
site level, let alone the local people and forest users. In addition, the financial value of 
carbon is likely to be lower for non-forest ecosystems; with the potential to result in 
the conservation of forest at the expense of other ecosystems. Inequitable distribution 
of benefits and unresolved issues of land tenure would appear to be the major 
stumbling blocks to ensuring that finance from the conservation of carbon reaches the 
appropriate stakeholders (Coad et al. 2008), and need consideration in the 
development of REDD policies. 

The potential role of protected areas in REDD policy 

As has been indicated throughout this report, the relationship between REDD policy 
and protected areas is complex. This has been highlighted through the difficulty in 
attaching carbon finance to protected areas. As in theory carbon stored within 
protected areas is not at risk of release to the atmosphere, it would not be explicitly 
included in a REDD mechanism that was focused on reducing national emissions, 
rather than rewarding countries for protecting their carbon stocks. Whilst there is still 
the potential for countries to be compensated on the basis of existing carbon stocks 
through mechanisms such as that suggested by the Terrestrial Carbon Group (TCG 
2008), it appears more likely that REDD will take the format of measuring reduced 
emissions from deforestation and degradation against past baselines 

Clearly, where protected areas are at risk from deforestation, there could be a role of 
strengthening the protected area network, and further study would be required into 
emissions from protected areas through deforestation. In addition, expansion of the 
protected network would be one option for reducing emissions. 

Regardless of the role of protected areas within REDD, it is clear that they have a 
large role to play in the actual process of reducing emissions from land use change, as 
they store a large amount of carbon; the protection of which could play a large role in 
the mitigation of climate change. This clearly makes protected areas relevant to all 
decisions related to carbon in ecosystems, including those relating directly to REDD; 
especially if we are concerned with delivering biodiversity and livelihood co-benefits 
from climate mitigation measures. 



Section 3 - Comparison of regional and global results 

An initial analysis of the uncertainty in global estimation of carbon stocks is reported 
here, based on a comparison of selected regional datasets with the global data. As 
there was no suitable regional dataset available to simultaneously analyse carbon 
storage in biomass and in soil, regional datasets were cross-checked against relevant 
layers of the global map. For this purpose, the original Global Biomass Carbon Stock 
Map (Ruesch & Gibbs. in review) was compared with data for the Amazon (Saatchi et 
al. 2007); and Global Soil Data (IGBP-DIS 2000) was compared with soil and 
peatland data for Canada (Tamocai & Lacelle 1996; Tamocai 2005). 

Above ground biomass - Brazilian Amazon 

Saatchi <?t al. (2007) estimated carbon stocks in Amazon Basin vegetation by 
combining data from biomass plots and remote sensing data (incorporating forest 
characteristics and environmental variables). This approach combines biomass 
estimates (limited in spatial coverage) with remote sensing for the entire region 
(limited in capacity for biomass estimation), improving the capacity of the predictive 
model (Houghton et al. 2001). A decision tree approach was used to develop the 
spatial distribution of Above Ground Biomass (AGB) in 7 distinct biomass classes in 
lowland old-growth forests with more than 80% accuracy. AGB for other vegetation 
types such as the woody and herbaceous savannah and secondary forests were directly 
estimated from the regression analysis of satellite data. 

The legend in Figure 5 shows the class ranges applied by regional study authors. 
Some areas outside of the Amazon basin, that were present in the original dataset are 
not shown on this map and were not encountered in cross-checking with global data. 



Carbon, tons/hectare 

ZZlo 

^1-25 

j 26 - 50 

j 51 - 75 

1 76 - 100 

1101-150 
"^151-200 
^ 201 - 250 
^ 251 - 300 
^1 301 - 450 
Other basins 




Figure 5: Carbon density in Amazon Basin (based on Saatchi et al. 2007; extent 
and colour scheme are amended). 

The equivalent estimate from the global vegetation carbon map is presented in Figure 
6. 



19 




Carbon, tons/hectare 


, 1 -25 
3^26-50 
' 51 - 75 
] 76 - 100 
J 101 - 150 
J 151 -200 
~ 201 - 250 
251 - 300 
301 - 450 
Other basins 



Figure 6: Carbon density in Carbon density in Amazon Basin (based on Ruesch & 
Gibbs, in review). 

It is apparent that the global data did not identify areas with carbon density above 200 
tonnes per hectare; in fact approximately 80% of this territory was assigned with a 
single value (193 t/ha). This corresponds with the conclusion of Saatchi et al. (2007) 
that biome averages are likely to underestimate carbon density due to the lack of 
dependency between vegetation type and biomes, and could account for a large 
proportion of the disagreement between the two datasets 

Due to the relatively broad range of values (50 t/ha steps) included in separate classes 
for the regional data sources, there was no straightforward way to calculate the 
potential carbon stock in the region with any precision. As a simplified assumption, 
the mid-point value was taken as a basis for calculation of the carbon stock. An 
estimate of the carbon stock based on regional data for above ground biomass is 125.2 
Gigatons against 101.9 Gt from the global dataset. Although the result of this 
simplified comparison (23% difference) cannot be applied as a precise measurement, 
it is likely that the global map underestimates the carbon content across the Amazon 
region. 

Considering that the global data is obviously more coarse scale, this is an expected 
level of variation between the two datasets. The Saatchi et al. (2007) data was 
obtained from both sampling of biomass plots and remote sensing data, and included 
old growth forest, floodplains, and small coastal patches, using a more recent land 
cover map at 1km resolution. The Amazon regional estimate also included 
differentiation of disturbed and non-disturbed forest, whereas the global data 
necessarily utilised biome averages. Further efforts are required for bringing together 
outputs of extensive regional studies and for making their results more easily 
comparable and compatible in respect of methodology and data formats, as it appears 
that the global data underestimates carbon stocks in high biomass areas. 



20 




Soil carbon - Canada 

The Soil Organic Carbon Digital Database of Canada (Tamocai & Lacelle 1996) is 
based on the Soil Landscapes of Canada (SLC version 2), part of the National Soils 
Database, and maintained by the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre of 
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The Canadian SOC Database provides estimates 
for carbon density and total stock for over 10,000 landscape units representing the 
whole territory of Canada (Figure 7). The equivalent estimate from the global SOC 
map is presented in Figure 8. 



Carbon, tons/hectare 

I I 1-5 
I 16-10 

'rzj 11-20 

i ] 21 - 50 
I 151-100 

rg 101 -200 

^ 201 - 400 
t3 401 - 800 
>800 
Other countries 



Figure 7: Soil carbon density in Canada (based on Tarnocai, Lacelle, 1996). 



Carbon, tons/hectare 



1-5 

6-10 

11 -20 

21-50 

51 - 100 

101 -200 

201 - 400 

401 - 800 
_ >800 
^ Other countries 



Figure 7: Soil carbon density in Canada (based on IGBP-DIS, 2000). 

Comparison of the maps derived from these two datasets reveals substantial 
differences both in relative abundance of carbon across geographical regions and in 
absolute values of carbon stock in high density areas. In particular, the national 
dataset depicts vast territories in the Canadian north and across sub-arctic islands as 
areas in which soil carbon density exceeds 300 tons/ha, whereas no density above 200 
t/ha is identified for these territories from a global dataset. The high carbon "belt" 
expanding from north-west Canada through its central part towards south-east part 
seems to be depicted similarly by both datasets, but soil carbon density differs 
considerably. The maximum density identified by a global dataset is 822 t/ha and only 
53,000 km" is identified with density above 800 t/ha. In contrast, the regional dataset 
shows the extent of the territory with carbon density above 800 t/ha to exceed 839,000 
km" and within this, 1 15,000 km" has an estimated density in excess of 1,600 t/ha. 




21 



The estimate of total carbon stock in Canada derived by authors of the regional study 
(Tamocai & Lacelle, 1996) is 262.3 Gigatons. This number is 40.6% higher than the 
relevant number derived from a global dataset (186.6 Gt). This higher level of 
uncertainty is expected for soil data, which has not been accurately estimated at a 
global scale (Annex 1 ), and it is clear that the underestimation of carbon in soil in 
high density areas is a limitation of this study. 

Peat land carbon - Canada 

The Peatlands of Canada Digital Database (Tamocai et al. 2005) provides an estimate 
of the peatland extent of Canada. The map presented in Figure 9 is derived from this 
regional source and estimates the average density of peat carbon within all landscape 
units containing peatlands. It should be noted that, due to variations in the ratio of 
peatland area within landscape units, the densities depicted on the map may represent 
the total density of soil carbon within a particular unit only when peatland completely 
covers that particular landscape unit. For units with a lower ratio of peatland area, an 
additional amount of carbon is expected to be found in non-peatland habitats. An 
example of continuous territory in which peatlands cover reaches 100% is highlighted 
on the map (Figure 9). 



HP 


i 


^^^^^-4 




^'-^^flS^^^ 


^^^ 


L. 


*• -*i 




^^s 


i^^^ '^**-^ 


^ 


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B 


^^s ^^^^^H 


^^^^HBul. 7ii 


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mL 




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m 


U^Hj^^ ?r* ^^^gS^^^ 



Peat carbon, tons/hectare 



1-5 
^6-10 
^^11-20 

21-50 

51 - 100 
1 101-200 
H 201 - 400 
^ 401 - 800 
^■>800 
~a Other land 



Figure 8: Peat carbon component density in selected Canadian landscapes (based on 
Tamocai e/a/. 2005). Red outline indicates the territory with 100% peatland coverage. 



Carb on, tons/hectare 

| 

^6-10 

111-20 
ZU 21 - 50 

151-100 
~3 101 -200 
^ 201 - 400 
■i 401 - 800 
^>800 
3 other land 




Figure 9: Soil carbon density in Canada (based on IGBP-DIS, 2000). 

Comparison of these two datasets reveals substantial differences in SOC estimates for 
peatland. For the regional dataset, the maximum density of peatland carbon in 
separate landscape units reaches 3,500 tons/ha, while there are no values higher than 



22 



822 tons/ha identified by the global dataset. Within the area represented by 
continuous peatlands (highlighted on figure 9), estimates available from the regional 
dataset exceeded ones derived from the global data by 500-1000 tons/ha for almost 
the entire sample area. An estimate of total soil carbon within all landscape umts 
represented on the map is 110.5 Gt (based on global data) whilst the carbon stock of 
the peatlands alone is estimated as 144.5 Gt (based on Tamocai et al. 2005) or 30.7% 
higher Considering that additional carbon is stored by non-peat soils, and their extent 
within the study area, its total stock here may be higher by 31 Gt (a modest estimate 
based on the assumption that 100 tons/ha is the average carbon content for all 
remaining territory) or up to 56 Gt (based on an extract from a global dataset, where 
the lowest carbon content area equivalent in size to the "non-peatland" extent of the 
study area was accounted for). 

These preliminary comparisons indicate that there is a high probability that the global 
map of carbon content under-estimates soil carbon stocks, and further efforts are 
required to increase reliability of global data. This is particularly true for peatland, as 
a global estimate for carbon storage in peatland was not available at the time of study. 
The estimates presented in this report should therefore be considered conservative, 
and this emphasises need for the development of a more accurate global carbon map, 
particularly for high carbon soils such as peatland. The spatial distribution of carbon 
does appear to be estimated with more accuracy on a global scale than total values. 



Section 4 - Carbon and conservation priority areas 

The concept of identifying 'win-win' areas where ecosystem services and biodiversity 
overiap is growing in prominence, but is difficult to put into practice due to a lack of 
quantitative data (Naidoo et al. 2008). The data presented here allow identification of 
areas of high carbon value which are not covered by the current protected areas 
network on a global level. This provides the opportunity to identify areas for 
protection or management in selected regions that are not just high in carbon, but also 
have high biodiversity value; i.e. managing for 'muhiple benefits'. This data in 
particular should provide useful input into the development of climate mitigation 
policies, such as REDD, although localised pressures such as deforestation pressure 
and the costs of protection should also be taken into account (Miles & Kapos 2008). 

For these analyses, areas of high biodiversity value were identified based on the 
spatial overlay of the outcomes of multiple conservation priority setting exercises. 
These layers were: WWF Global 200 terrestrial priority ecoregions (Olson et al. 
2001), WWF Global 200 freshwater priority ecoregions (Olson et al. 2001), 
amphibian diversity areas (Duellman 1999), Endemic Bird Areas datasets 
(Stattersfield et al. 1998) and Conservation International hotspots (Myers et al. 2000). 
Areas were assigned a value according to the number of 'priority' layers they 
represented (e.g. areas that were included under all of the conservation priority areas 
were assigned a 5). 

The utility of such mapping is demonstrated here through case studies in Tanzania 
and Papua New Guinea, which have been chosen as they are the first two countries 
selected for assistance in developing and implementing REDD strategies by the 
Norwegian Fund for Prevention of Deforestation in Developing Countries, launched 

23 



at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties in Bali, 
December 2007. They also host very different ecosystems, cultures and political 
contexts. 

The maps for protected area coverage and carbon storage (Figure 10) combined with 
conservation priorities in Tanzania (Figure 11) suggest that there is a large area of 
unprotected land that is both high in carbon value and a priority for conservation. This 
is also the case in Papua New Guinea (Figure 12, Figure 13). It should be noted that 
priority setting schemes often use the lack of protected areas as an indicator of threat, 
so high priority areas may appear to be situated outside of the protected area network 
as an artefact of this. Regardless, such mapping allows for identification of areas that 
should be focused on in future conservation strategies if the aim is to prevent carbon 
emissions whilst conserving biodiversity. 

These maps serve to demonstrate the relatively simple nature of combining carbon 
and biodiversity data to set conservation priorities, and should be viewed more as a 
tool for demonstration in priority setting workshops rather than as a tool for priority- 
setting at a national level per se. Ideally, more accurate and context specific national 
data should be used for the setting of national priorities, as these might differ from 
those that would be determined on a global scale, and could correspond to the land 
use pressures acting in that area. 




Figure 10: Protected areas and carbon storage, Tanzania. Protected area data 
includes all sites stored within the WDPA, including forest reserves. 



24 




Figure 11: Carbon and biodiversity values, Tanzania. 




Figure 12: Protected areas and carbon storage, Papua New Guinea 



25 




Figure 13: Carbon and biodiversity values, Papua New Guinea. Note that the 
scale differs from that presented for Tanzania; highlighted areas have a higher 
carbon content and conservation priority. 

Summary 

This analysis has brought together global data on carbon storage in vegetation and soil 
to estimate the amount of carbon stored within the protected area network. The carbon 
data used was considered to be the best available at the time of study, but is less 
accurate than regional data and likely underestimates carbon storage in high biomass 
areas; particularly in soil. 

From the information presented in this report, it is clear that protected areas store a 
large amount of carbon; 312 Gt or 15.2% of the total terrestrial carbon stock. 
Strengthening of existing protected area networks and the creation of new protected 
areas could therefore form part of a climate change mitigation strategy. Based on 
current market prices, the carbon stored in ecosystems would be worth between 
€1,142 and €7,992 billion, if each tonne was valued in the market. This is the first 
attempt to quantify one of the benefits of the protected area network that had until 
recently been largely overlooked. Less than half of the carbon within the protected 
area network is stored in the more restrictive lUCN protected area management 
categories 1-IV, but more research is required as to the impacts of different 
management categories on stored carbon 

Regions differ in carbon storage totals, densities, and levels of protection. South 
America has the largest total carbon stores and the highest levels of protection at 25% 
(not including Greenland). The Pacific has the lowest level of protection with 96% of 



26 



the carbon unprotected, and is also one of the regions with the highest carbon density, 
second only to South East Asia. A significant carbon store in the boreal soils and 
northern latitude forests of Eurasia also has low levels of protection, but is likely 
subject to less land use pressure than that of the tropics. 

The data presented here have also demonstrated the capacity to identify areas that 
have both high carbon content and high biodiversity value, which could assist in 
conservation priority setting and the identification of 'multiple benefit' areas for 
protection or management of carbon for climate mitigation strategies, such as through 
REDD implementation. 

Climate change mitigation policy related to terrestrial carbon storage (namely 
REDD), has thus far concentrated mostly on forest ecosystems. It should be 
emphasised that forests are not the only ecosystems that can make a valuable 
contribution to climate change mitigation; a considerable amount of carbon is also 
protected in the soil and in the biomass and of other ecosystems. The carbon storage 
of peatland is a major area that has not been addressed in this report. 

In addition, the large majority of global terrestrial carbon stocks are stored outside of 
the protected area network. Whilst protected areas clearly have a carbon storage 
benefit and can clearly play a role in reducing emissions from land use change, 
protected areas are only one option for conserving terrestrial ecosystems. Most carbon 
is stored outside of the protected area network, and protecting the carbon in one area 
will be of little consequence if carbon is lost from other land areas. In order to 
successfully included carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems as a climate mitigation 
strategy, other land use options for the protection of carbon should be incorporated, 
including through CCAs and the development of best practices for land management 
and land use planning. The implementation of climate policy such as REDD on a 
large scale is unlikely to be feasible without the support of indigenous and local 
communities. The official recognition and encouragement of community-based forest 
management is becoming more widespread, and could become a viable component of, 
or complement to, protected areas in reducing deforestation 



Scope for further research 

Data improvements 

There are a large number of challenges to estimating carbon storage, and it is likely 
that improved data for carbon storage in vegetation and soils will become available at 
global, regional, and national scales. The European Space Agency has recently made 
available a new global land cover dataset (GlobCover) from 2005 that is considered to 
be more accurate than the GLC2000. In addition, the FAO has released the 
Harmonised World Soil Database which provides estimates for soil carbon 
(FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISS-CAS/JRC 2008). Utihsing this data, new estimates of 
calculated carbon stocks using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
(IPCC) Tier- 1 approach (IPCC 2006, Gibbs et al. 2007) could be generated. 

In addition, it is clear that the carbon storage estimates in soils likely underestimate 
carbon stocks in high density areas. This is particularly the case for peatland, as there 

27 



is currently no dataset available for peat distribution and depth globally, but it is a 
significant carbon store. Quantifying tiiis peatland carbon store, and tlie level of 
emissions from peatland loss and degradation, would be a valuable contribution to 
climate policy development 

We have also identified that maps of carbon storage within marine and coastal 
ecosystems are not readily available. This is a potential important area for further 
research and collaboration building, including with respect to valuation of marine 
protected areas, but also for the wider issues of carbon storage within marine 
ecosystems, and the potential impact of human activities with the aim of climate 
mitigation. 

Next steps 

Following estimates of the amount of carbon stored in protected areas, the next logical 
step is to provide some estimate of the efficacy of protected areas in reducing carbon 
emissions. UNEP-WCMC, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and 
University of South Dakota has provided an estimate of emissions from deforestation 
within protected areas. The data presented here also provide the basis for mapping 
high carbon and high biodiversity areas at the scale of the entire tropical biome. This 
could also include identification of areas under deforestation and degradation 
pressures, and provide guidance on new methods for doing gap analysis for protected 
areas with carbon as an input. 

Although this report is mainly focused on protected areas, this is only a small area for 
research in the broader view of carbon storage and biodiversity. A holistic view of the 
carbon storage implications of improved forest management, and sustainable use of 
forest resources is an important area for future research; taking into account issues 
such as certification schemes, leakage and local livelihoods. Information on how 
rUCN management categories relate to levels of degradation, and the implications for 
carbon storage, is also required. The impacts of governance on carbon storage in 
particular would be a useful input to this discussion. 

Further research is also required into the carbon storage of non-forest ecosystems and 
soils. The introduction of REDD could have significant implications for the 
conservation of these areas, which can have high carbon and biodiversity benefit. This 
could be explored through the removal of the forest carbon layer from the carbon 
map, identifying high carbon areas with low forest cover and high biodiversity 
benefit; analyses which would also be useful for the biofuel debate. The issue of the 
potential for REDD to conserve forest at the expense of other ecosystems, and how 
non-forest ecosystems can be incorporated into REDD mechanisms is one requiring 
further attention. 

Indeed, REDD will have implications for biodiversity conservation on all scale, and 
an analysis of the potential biodiversity impacts of the various proposals for REDD 
would be useful input to current discussions, which could include discussion of the 
potential place for protected areas within REDD. 



28 



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30 



Annex 1 - Carbon storage in ecosystems data review 

A comprehensive literature review of the available data sources for terrestrial carbon 
storage was undertaken in order to source the most accurate data for global and 
regional carbon stocks. This section identifies the available carbon storage maps, and 
provides a summary of the data chosen to produce the global carbon map. 

Carbon in terrestrial ecosystems 

The IPCC guidelines for national level estimation of carbon stocks identify three 
broad carbon pools: biomass (above and below ground living vegetation), dead 
organic matter (DOM), and soil organic carbon (SOC) (IPCC 2006). Carbon stocks 
are generally measured using inventories over small spatial scales, with allometric or 
statistical relationships used to determine biomass and carbon stocks over a given 
area. These can be extrapolated to larger scales with average carbon densities applied 
according to ecosystem type. Other approaches involve ecosystem modelling, and 
either of these mapping approaches can be used in combination with remote sensing 
techniques. Soil stock estimates require knowledge of the organic carbon content of 
soil profiles and the spatial distribution of the various soil or vegetation types; and can 
be estimated to varying depths. 

Carbon stock estimates differ according to the methodology selected, the 
comprehensiveness of the inventories, ecosystem model parameters selected, 
allometric and statistical equations used, and the land cover maps used for spatial 
representation. One of the major issues with global carbon stock estimation is the 
existence of a wide range of national and regional estimates that vary in these 
methodological factors. On the other hand, global datasets may lack accuracy because 
they do not capture variations in vegetation cover over relatively small scales (Potter 
1999). 

Global estimates 

There are currently a small number of readily available global carbon storage datasets, 
each providing different estimates and accounting for different carbon pools. Due to 
differences in national accounting, coarse scale but globally consistent carbon maps 
necessarily use the 'Tier 1' (broad-brush) IPCC approach, extrapolating carbon 
densities for vegetation types to global averages on a biome scale. Most estimates are 
based upon biome carbon averages that are modified in ways not often transparent 
(Gibbs et al 2007); again indicative of the methodological problems of standardising 
carbon accounting over a large scale. Until recently, the most widely used reference 
data for carbon storage in vegetation was from Olson et al. (1983). which was based 
on over 20 years of field investigations and an analysis of published literature (Olson 
ef al. 1985). Similarly, soil carbon profiles have often involved the use of carbon 
density averages from original studies (Zinke et al. 1984; Batjes 1996; Post et al. 
1982) to allocate values to soil types in the FAO soil map of the world. 



31 



Data for carbon storage in vegetation 

The estimates available to date (Table 5) are derived from either biome averages 
based on site measurement data, or the use of satellite observations in combination 
with ecosystem models. A more in-depth look at the three datasets is reported below. 

Table 5: Global datasets considered- carbon stored in vegetation 



Carbon pools 


Methods 


Source 


Above and 
below ground 
biomass. 


NASA-CASA ecosystem model driven by AVHRR. 
Average carbon (g/m2) multiplied by area for each 
vegetation type to estimate total carbon 


Potter (1999) 


Above and 
below ground 
biomass. 


Update of Olson et al. (1983) vegetation data onto 
the Global Land Cover Characteristics Database of 
1998 


PAGE (WRI 
2000) 


Above and 
below ground 
biomass 


IPCC Tier 1 approach. Above ground biomass 
carbon stock estimates obtained through the 
application of biome averages to a recent land cover 
map (GLC2000). 


SAGE 

(Ruesch & 
Gibbs, in 
review) 



Potter (1999) dataset 

A global dataset for above-ground biomass has been compiled by Potter (1999), using 
an ecosystem model driven by satellite observations, which estimates parameters such 
as carbon fixation, plant biomass, litter fall, and nutrient exchange on a daily or 
seasonal basis. Satellite 'greenness' data from the Advanced Very High Resolution 
Radiometer (AVHRR) fed into the NASA-CASA ecosystem model. 

One advantage of the ecosystem modelling technique is that it can simulate regional 
variability in carbon stores (Potter 1999, Cao & Woodward 1998, Ni 2001), long 
recognised as an issue in biomass estimation across large forested areas (IGBP 1998). 
Similarly, it can separately model the biomass in wood, leaves, and roots. However, 
the complexities of ecosystem models mean that they are often more accurate over 
regional than global scales (Le Toan et al. 2004). Indeed, whilst modelling does avoid 
limitations in forest biomass inventories; incomplete understanding of ecosystem 
processes, combined with uncertainties in key parameter estimates, severely limit the 
accuracy of the approach (Tian et al. 2000; Malhi et al. 2006). Additionally, it has 
been suggested that current optical satellite sensors, such as AVHRR, cannot be used 
to estimate carbon stocks with any degree of certainty (Thenkabail et al. 2004 in 
Gibbs et al. 2007; GCP; Houghton, 2005) and cannot accurately estimate biomass in 
closed canopy forests (Houghton et al. 2001) or other high biomass areas (Lefsky 
2002; Le Toan et al. 2004). The output in this case was also based on a now-outdated 
1990 land use map. 

PAGE (2000) estimate 

The Olson et al. ( 1983) map of carbon storage in vegetation, widely considered to be 
the most consistent on a global scale, was the basis for the global carbon estimate 
incorporated into the Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems (PAGE; WRI 2000). The 
data were reapplied to the Global Land Cover Characteristics Database of 1998, and 
the low and high estimates used in modelling (WRI 2000). The spatial data for 



32 



vegetation from the high range Olson et al. (1983) estimates gave a 10 km resolution 
map of carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems. 

There are a number of issues with this study. The spatial estimation of carbon stocks 
used a very broad classification of ecosystem types (forest, grassland, etc) by mid, 
high and low latitudinal bands, instead of more specific vegetation types. The Olson 
et al. (1983) data also relies on direct measurement of biomass, and it had been 
suggested that this methodology can be biased towards high biomass areas unless 
statistically consistent inventory methods are used (Fang & Wang 2001, Fang et al. 
2006). 

SAGE (2008) estimate 

This estimate calculated carbon stocks using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
Change (IPCC) Tier-1 approach (EPCC 2006, Gibbs et al. 2007). Above-ground 
biomass carbon stock estimates for each country were obtained through the 
application of biome averages to a recent land cover map (Bartholome & Belward 
2005). Below-ground biomass was similarly estimated using the IPCC root-to-shoot 
ratios by vegetation type (IPCC 2006). Biomass values reported by IPCC (2006) were 
converted to carbon stocks through application of the IPCC standard 0.47 carbon 
fraction. Time-averaged carbon stocks for cropping systems were estimated by 
assuming linear growth rates, and using half the peak carbon stock (van Noordwijk et 
al. 1997). This data splits carbon estimates into more vegetation classes than the 
Olson data, allowing for more realistic variation than in the PAGE estimate. For 
example, Olson et al. (1983) used a single value for all tropical forest (Gibbs et al. 
2007). The data used in this estimate varies by continent, ecoregion, and vegetation 
type, for both above and below-ground biomass (H. Gibbs pers comm.). 

There are some drawbacks to his approach. As with all studies using biome averages, 
there is no variation within vegetation classes, and therefore the abrupt changes 
between e.g. grassland and shrubland at the boundaries are not realistic. More detailed 
regional studies have demonstrated significant variation in biomass on much smaller 
spatial scales (Saatchi et al. 2007, Malhi et al. 2006). Regardless, these data are the 
most recent available for global vegetation carbon, and as the only global estimates to 
follow IPCC guidelines they appear to be the most accurate and the most relevant to 
REDD negotiations. The data was also readily available for use following 
communication with the author, and was therefore selected for use in this study 

Other global data sources (Luyssaert et al. 2007, Bolin & Sukumar 2000, Kauppi 
2003, Dixon et al. 1994, Cao & Woodward 1998) exist, but are either outdated or 
focused only on forest ecosystems. The Global Carbon Project aims to provide 
detailed data sources for accurate accounting of carbon storage, but these data are not 
yet available. Long wavelength SAR and Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) have been 
identified as potential tools for the production of a global estimate (Drake et al. 2002) 
VCL shows potential for obtaining biomass estimates from space and has the ability 
to measure forest height, and SAR should have the capacity to produce global 
biomass maps up to values of 100 t/ha. Global biomass estimations may also be 
improved using imagery from the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS), a 
Japanese satellite featuring PALSAR (an L- band frequency high performance SAR 
satellite) and ideal for biomass estimation (JAXA EORC 2008). The satellite covers 
each of the earth's land masses three times a year, and has the capacity to produce the 

33 



first systematic global observations for biomass map generation (Kellendorfer et al. 
2008) 

Data for carbon storage in soil 

The importance of carbon storage in soil is becoming increasingly recognised 
following observations that the soil carbon store contains three times as much as that 
of vegetation (Smith 2007. IPCC 2000); with storage in peat soil contributing a 
significant amount towards this total (Mitra et al. 2005, Hoojier et al. 2006, Botch et 
al. 1995). 

Current global estimates are based upon the small number of available estimates of 
carbon in various soil profiles (Eswarran et al. 1993, Batjes 1996, Zinke et al. 1984) 
or vegetation units/climatic zones (Post et al. 1982). Large scale estimates of soil 
carbon are still limited by a lack of knowledge of different soils in terms of spatial 
distribution and land use (Batjes 1996). There is also some debate over the depth to 
which carbon storage in soils should be measured for carbon accounting. The default 
value specified in the IPCC guidelines is 0-30cm (IPCC 2006), but the vertical 
distribution of SOC is poorly understood (Jobbagy & Jackson 2000), as is its 
vulnerability to disturbance at different depths and by different processes. It could be 
considered that the IPCC guidelines are conservative, and consequently most global 
estimates of SOC are to a depth of Im (Mikhailova & Post 2006). 

Potter & Klooster (1997) and WRI (2000) have produced global carbon maps based 
on data from Post et al. (1982) and Batjes (1996) respectively. Jobbagy & Jackson 
(2000), Puzachenko et al. (2006), and The United States Department of Agriculture - 
Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) have similarly produced 
global SOC maps (Im depth). Various other studies have modelled the potential 
impact of climate change on soil carbon pools (Jones et al. 2005), but do not include 
data on soil profiles and are aimed at more theoretical projections of future carbon 
stores than quantification of current carbon stock. Work is currently in progress to 
create improved an improved soil map through the SOTER project. Whilst SOTER 
maps are already available for Eurasia, parts of Africa, and South America, a global 
dataset has not yet been developed (Dobos et al. 2005). The Global Environment 
Facility Soil Organic Carbon Modelhng System (GEFSOC) project (Easter et al. 
2007) has produced some regional SOC estimates but is not currently available for 
global estimates. 

A SOC dataset published by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme in 
1998 (IGBP-DIS 2000) estimates organic carbon density to 1 m depth, at 5 minute 
resolution. This dataset is based on the FAO Soil Map of the World and ISRIC pedon 
data and was selected for use in this study as a readily available data source that is 
considered reliable on a global scale (downloaded from http://daac.ornl.gov/ ). The Im 
depth is appropriate for this analysis, but likely underestimates carbon emissions from 
deeper peatland systems. No global dataset of peat depth is yet available. 

Regional estimates 

There are a large number of national and regional estimates of carbon storage in 
terrestrial ecosystems (Table 6). Such estimates tend to be more accurate because they 

34 



are extrapolated over smaller scales, rely on better inventory data, and can account for 
spatial variation in more detail. 



Table 6: Selected regional studies 
availability of data. 



considered for use due to quality or 



Region 


Ecosystem 


Carbon pool 


Availabihty 


Reference 


Amazon 
Basin 


All 


Vegetation 
biomass 


Readily available 


Saatchi et al. 
(2007) 


Amazon 
Basin 


Old 

growth 

forest 


Vegetation 
biomass DOM 


Unknown 


Malhi et al. 
(2006) 


Brazilian 
Amazon 


All 


SOC 


Readily downloadable 


Cerri et al. 
(2007) 


Tropical 
Africa 


Forest 


Woody Biomass 


Available 


Gibbs et al. 
(2007) 


Southern 
Africa 


Forest 


SOC 


Available 


Zinke et al. 
(2002) 


Tropical 
South 

East 
Asia 


Forest 


Vegetation 
biomass 


Available 


Brown et al. 
(2001) 
Gibbs et al. 
(2007a) 


Tropical 
SE Asia 


Forest 


Vegetation 
biomass & SOC 


Unknown 


Brown et al. 
(1993) 


Northern 
Latitude 


Forest 


All 


Do not appear to be 
spatially explicit 


Goodale et al. 
(2002) 


Northern 
Latitude 


Forest 


Above ground 
biomass 


Unknown 


Myeni et al. 
(2001) 


USA 


All 


All 


Unknown 


Potter (2006) 


USA 


All 


SOC (2m depth) 


Unknown 


Guo et al. 
(2006) 


Canada 


All 


SOC 


Available 


Tanocai & 
Lacelle(1996) 


Canada 


Peatland 


SOC 


Available 


Tamocai & 
Lacelle 


Russia 


All 


All 


Unknown. Does not 
appear spatially explicit 


Nilsson et al. 
(2000) 


Russia 


All 


SOC 


Unknown 


Rohzkov et al. 
(1996) 


Russia 


Forest 


Forest stand 


(http://daac.oml.gov/RLC/ 
guides/RLC_forest carbon 
_73.html) 


Stone et al 
(2003) 


Europe 


Forest 


Vegetation 
biomass 


Map produced would 
require author contact 


Nabuurs & 

Schelhaas 

(2003) 


Europe 


All 


SOC 


Available 


Jones et al. 2005 



35 



Tropical estimates 

Given the importance of tropical forest deforestation in carbon fluxes, much of the 
national and regional analysis has focused upon the tropical forest ecosystems 
(Achard 2004, DeFries et al. 2002, Houghton 2003). Many studies have focused 
specifically on tropical forest within Latin America (Brown & Lugo 1992, Chave et 
al. 2003, Baker et al. 2004, Malhi et al. 2006, Saatchi et al. 2007) with wide ranging 
results in carbon storage and distribution estimates (Houghton et al. 2003). 
Interestingly, the Olson et al. (1983) data and Potter (1999) were shown to 
underestimate biomass in the Amazon, and lack accurate spatial representation of 
biomass densities respectively. Other studies have focused upon tropical Asia (Brown 
et al. 1993: Chabra et al. 2002) including one comprehensive study by Gibbs & 
Brown (2007a), updating estimates based on GIS processing of FAO georeferenced 
data onto the GLC 2000 land cover map. Relatively few carbon stock estimates have 
been carried out in Africa, the most comprehensive of which was provided by Gaston 
et al. (1998) and updated by Gibbs & Brown (2007b). 

Saatchi et al. (2007) estimated carbon stocks in Amazon Basin vegetation by 
combining data from biomass plots and remote sensing data (incorporating forest 
characteristics and environmental variables). This approach combines biomass 
estimates (limited in spatial coverage) with remote sensing for the entire region 
(limited in capacity for biomass estimation), improving the capacity of the predictive 
model (Houghton et al. 2007). In contrast with other studies of the Amazon, biomass 
values were calculated according to all vegetation types present, such as old growth 
forest, floodplains, and small coastal patches. The Saatchi et al. (2007) estimate 
improved the model by combining optical data with radar data (Houghton et al. 
2007). This dataset was considered to be one of the most reliable for the tropical 
region, accounting for all vegetation types in a region for which the need to protect 
forest from deforestation has been highlighted. The dataset was also readily available, 
and was therefore appropriate for use in this study. 

Despite the fact that there is a substantial carbon store in the soils of tropical forest 
(41% of the total tropical carbon store according to Brown & Lugo ( 1982)), very few 
studies have estimated SOC for tropical regions. A number of estimates do exist for 
parts of Africa (Zinke et al. 2002, Batjes 2004, Milne et al. 2006) and Brazil (Batjes 
& Dijkshoom 1999, Batjes 2005, Bemoux 2002, Moraes et al. 1995. Cerri et al. 2007) 
but do not correspond to the geographical area covered by Saatchi et al. (2007) and 
were therefore not selected for use in this study. 

Northern Latitude estimates 

Although a large amount of detailed inventory data is available for northern latitude 
forests (Dong et al. 2003), there are many areas in which inventory data is patchy and 
not adequately georeferenced (Houghton et al. 2001). Biomass of ecosystems other 
than forest is also less well known, and accurate soil carbon data for boreal 
ecosystems is lacking. 

There are a number of estimates of the total carbon storage in northern latitude forest 
(Goodale et al. 2002, Myeni et al. 2001, Liski et al. 2003), with other studies focusing 
on Russia (Shivdenko & Nilsson 2003, Alexeyev et al. 1995, Houghton et al. 2007, 
Stone et al. 2003), China (Wang et al. 2007, Piao et al. 2005), North America 
(Birdsey 1992, Zhang & Kondragunta 2006) and Europe (Kauppi et al. 1992, 

36 



Nabuurs, &. Schelhaas 2003). There are in addition some estimates of tiie entire 
carbon store for USA (Potter 2006) and Russia (Nilsson et al. 2000). A recent study 
into the North American carbon budget (CCSP 2007) has estimated the terrestrial 
carbon stocks (biomass, litter and soil) across ecosystems, biomes, and countries 
(USA, Canada and Mexico) in North America but does not provide spatially explicit 
data. Many of these studies are based on old inventory data, and do not appear to have 
produced readily available spatially explicit estimates. In addition, the carbon storage 
in northern latitude soils is receiving increased attention due to estimates that they 
account for approximately 45% of the entire terrestrial carbon store (Post et al. 1982, 
Gower et al. 2001). The decision was therefore taken to identify a SOC dataset for 
northern latimdes, as there were few accurate biomass datasets obviously available. 

Datasets for SOC were identified in China (Xie et al. 2007, Yu et al. 2007). Russia 
(Orlov et al. 1996, Rozhkov et al. 1996, Stolbovi & Vladimir 2004) and Europe 
(Jones et al. 2005, Dobos et al. 2005). In selecting a SOC dataset, however, it seemed 
appropriate to choose an area of high carbon storage, incorporating peatlands, such as 
the boreal area of Russia and North America. The Soil Organic Database of Canada is 
considered to be one of the most accurate data sets available for soil carbon content 
(Kuhry et al. 2002) and a map of soil organic carbon in Canada (Tamocai & Lacelle, 
1996), was therefore selected for use in this study. Peatland soils store a large amount 
of carbon (Mistra et al 2005, Hoojier et al. 2006), and Canada has the largest area of 
peatland soil in the world. In addition, a recent map of carbon in peat soils in Canada 
has been produced (Tamocai 2005), providing a comprehensive spatially explicit and 
detailed carbon storage estimate. This appears to be the most comprehensive SOC 
data available across a large and high carbon content region to date. The CARBO- 
North Project, due for completion in 2010, is likely to be a useful information source 
in the future. 

Summary of global and regional estimates 

It is clear that there are a large number of datasets available, providing carbon 
estimates for a variety of ecosystems, regions, and carbon pools. The majority of 
studies focus upon forest biomass and soil carbon, and carbon storage in other 
ecosystem types is less well known. The methods for estimating carbon storage vary 
widely, and no single method is considered highly accurate. The use of improved 
technology for biomass estimation and databases for soil carbon estimation is likely to 
improve the accuracy of carbon estimates in coming years. 

On a global scale, the use of biome averages and the increased uncertainty of carbon 
storage estimates for higher biomass classes tend to lead to a less accurate picture for 
individual regions than equivalent regional maps. Whilst much variability can be 
found at a regional scale, these biome-based estimates do provide a consistent 
indicative picture of the pattern of carbon storage. From the global datasets assessed 
here, the SAGE estimates using fPCC methodologies (Reusch & Gibbs, in review, 
Gibbs et al. 2007) have been selected for use. The data are globally consistent and 
split carbon density averages more finely into more vegetation classes than the data 
provided by Olson et al. (1983). 

It is also important to quantify soil carbon storage, as research has suggested that soil 
carbon accounted for 28% of net loss from land use change in the period 1850-1990 

37 



(Houghton 2005), and failure to include soil carbon would underestimate carbon 
storage at northern latitudes, which is estimated to contribute 53% of the total carbon 
store (WRI 2000). The IGBP-DIS (2000) soil data was selected for use as a readily 
available source to Im depth. The only global litter carbon estimate was produced 
through ecosystem modelling as part of the Potter (1999) study, and was not 
considered appropriate for this study. 

At a regional scale, there is a much wider range of data available for carbon storage. 
Datasets for biomass in the Amazon Basin (Saatchi et al. 2007) and SOC in Canada 
(Tamcoi & Lacelle 1996) were selected to provide context of the accuracy of the 
global data for both biomass and soil in two areas of high carbon storage. Both 
datasets are considered to be the most accurate available both for the regions and 
carbon pools that they provide estimates for, as although other datasets for the 
Amazon could be considered equally accurate, they do not provide estimates for all 
vegetation classes. 

Carbon in marine ecosystems 

From the review above it is clear that many studies have focused on the estimation of 
carbon storage within terrestrial ecosystems. Comparatively, knowledge of carbon 
storage within marine environments is limited, and no equivalent literature exists. For 
this reason, we were not able to include marine ecosystems in this analysis. This 
would appear to be a significant knowledge gap, considering that the total amount of 
carbon stored in the ocean is 50 times that of the atmosphere (IPCC 2001). Despite 
this, there is some information available relating to carbon storage in specific marine 
ecosystems, such as mangroves and coral reefs; and marine organisms. 

Mangroves 

Mangrove forests are highly productive (Bouillon et al. 2008), and their ability to 
store organic carbon is extremely significant, despite accounting for less than 1% of 
total forest cover on earth (Ayukai 1998). The total global storage of carbon in 
mangroves has been estimated at 4 PgC (Twilley et al. 1992). Various techniques can 
be used to estimate the standing biomass of mangrove forests, most commonly 
satellite imagery combined with field data (Mann 2000); a methodology used for 
biomass estimation in Florida (Simard et al. 2006) and South Africa (Steinke et al. 
1995). Other studies have estimated carbon storage in mangrove forests of Australia 
(Ayukai 1998, Matsui 1998), Brazil (Soares and Schaeffer-Novelli 2005), and the 
Dominican Republic (Sherman et al. 2003) through inventories, aerial photography 
and statistical relationships; producing varying results. Of these, only the estimate by 
Steinke et al (1995) considered below ground biomass. Also important is the carbon 
stored in the soils of mangrove swamps and sand marshes, which has been estimated 
on a global scale (Chmuera et al. 2003). As with terrestrial forest biomass, remote 
sensing appears to lack accuracy in estimation of carbon stored in high biomass areas 
(Lucas et al. 2007, Mougin et al. 1999, Simard et al. 2006; cited in Proisy et al. 
2007). 

Coral Reefs 

Corals store carbon in their calcium carbonate skeletons. However, due to the 
production of CO: in the calcification process, it has been suggested that coral reefs 
generally act as alkalinity sinks and CO2 releasing sites (Suzuki 2003). Unfortunately 

38 



there is little data involving carbon biomass storage in coral reefs and this is a 
significant gap in our knowledge. Of the few studies that do exist, they are focused on 
the calcification and productivity of the coral (Andrefouet & Payri 2001, Field et al. 
1998) 

Plankton 

Estimation of carbon storage in the oceans is constrained by the difficulties of 
measuring biomass of marine organisms such as phytoplankton and zooplankton, 
which varies on termporal, horizontal, and vertical scales. A number of studies 
(Kopczyiiska & Fiala 2003, Batten el al. 1999, Behrenfeld & Boss 2006) have 
attempted to measure biomass across small scales using plankton recorders, 
biochemical analyses, and optical indices. In addition, several studies (Goes et al. 
2004, Smith et al. 1998, Fiala et al. 1998; Brock & McClain 1992) have used satellite 
ocean colour remote sensing analysis in order to determine the level of interannual 
variability of plankton biomass, which is strongly influenced by meteorological and 
oceanographic conditions (Goes et al. 2004). However, there is little data relating to 
the amount of carbon biomass of marine plankton for a specific area, largely due to 
the aforementioned spatial and temporal variability. Strong blooms may develop 
during certain periods during the year, determined by both global and local factors 
(Twilley e? a/. 1992). 

Macrophytes / Microphytes 

Seagrasses and seaweeds have high rates of primary production (Alongi, 1997). 
Remote sensing has been used to estimate seagrass biomass in a number of areas 
(Armstrong 1993, Mumby et al. 1997), and similar remote sensing technology has 
been used for estimating biomass in submerged Kelp (large seaweeds; Simms 2003). 
Seagrass meadows have been estimated to account for 15% of the total carbon storage 
in marine ecosystems (Duarte et al. 2004). In addition, the potential contribution of 
microscopic algae to marine carbon storage should not be overlooked, and their 
biomass has been measured thorough spectrophotometry in the South West Pacific 
(Garrigue 1998). The organic metabolism in coastal regions is greatly impacted 
(particularly in estuaries) by climate variability and anthropogenic activity (Smith & 
Hollibaugh, 1993). 

Duarte et al (2004) have constructed a carbon budget model for the coastal ocean in 
order to examine the organic export from vegetated habitats to the open ocean 
together with the possible impact of their destruction. Their results estimated an 
organic carbon burial in the coastal ocean at 210-244 Tg Cy', which was found to be 
almost double the value of the previous assessment of global carbon budget (IPCC 
2001; cited in Duarte et al. 2004). For example, the Hinchinbrook Channel is known 
to be net autotrophic, meaning that the respired and buried organic carbon is less than 
the fixed organic carbon present (Ayukai 1998). In general, marine vegetation is 
shown to export a significant amount of organic carbon to adjacent ecosystems and 
also store a vast amount in the sediments (Jenneijahn & Ittekkot 2002, Chmura et al. 
2003, Brevik & Homburg, 2004; cited in Duarte et al. 2004). 

Carbon Capture and Storage 

Carbon sequestration in marine environments has been suggested as a climate change 
mitigation option (Preuss 2001). However, there remains a serious question towards 
the health of marine ecosystems if the sea is continually used to sequester carbon. The 

39 



Department of Energy (DOE 1999) claim that there is too little information to 
estimate the amount of carbon that can be sequestered without harming marine 
ecosystems, both on a short-term and long-term basis. It is vital therefore to gain 
further information on the amount of carbon biomass present in marine ecosystems, in 
order to demonstrate their vulnerability and their essential role in carbon storage. 

Summary 

There is a current lack of data for carbon storage within marine and coastal ecosystems 
beyond the site level, and it is therefore difficult to gain a general picture of the carbon 
storage capacity. For example, comparisons between biomass data from different 
mangrove areas are difficult as the biomass is a function of the history and structural 
variability (Scares & Schaeffer-Noveili, 2005). As with the terrestrial carbon data, 
there are questions over the accuracy of comparing biomass measurements estimated 
through different methods, yet there is no data for and regional estimates, even on a 
coarse scale. The difficulty of quantitative biomass measurements in the coastal ocean 
(Smith & HoUibaugh 1993) has resulted in the marine environment being a significant 
gap in the carbon budget (Bouillon et al. 2008), in particular for seagrasses and coral 
reefs. This is of particular importance when considering the high carbon storage 
estimated in the coastal ocean (Duarte et al. 2004), which is highly vulnerable to 
climate change through increasing temperatures and sea level rise. 



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48 



Annex 2 - Valuing carbon storage within ecosystems 



The value of carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems 

Carbon emissions from deforestation account for an estimated 20% of emissions 
(IPCC 2007); second only to that produced by fossil fuel combustion. Despite this, 
projects relating to land use and forestry (LULUCF) accounted for only 1% of an 
international carbon market worth $30 billion (€23 billion) in 2006 (Capoor & 
Ambrosi 2007). The value of the market has risen to US$64 billion (€47 billion) in 
2007 (Capoor & Ambrosi 2008). Given the contribution of deforestation and land 
degradation to carbon emissions, it is likely that the value of carbon storage in 
ecosystems will increase, particularly as the overall carbon market is projected to 
increase in value (Hasselknippe & Roine 2007, Ebeling & Yasue 2008). Indeed, there 
have been estimates from some reviewers that over $43 billion could be made 
available to developing countries if REDD projects are formalized (Roe et al. 2007), 
and that forested areas could be worth $200-10,000 per hectare depending upon a 
number of factors such as carbon content and project type (Peskett 2007). 

The range of forest carbon values reported above (Peskett 2007) highlights the 
uncertainty in predicting a market value for stored carbon in a relatively volatile 
market. The top end value corresponds to carbon trading for EUAs (European 
emission allowances) on the biggest market, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU 
ETS), and would undoubtedly be an overestimate (Smith et al. 2000). There are also a 
number of issues surrounding the permanence of carbon stored in ecosystems, which 
lead to further uncertainties in the market value and place its value at a lower level to 
the broader market e.g. for renewable energy schemes. In addition, carbon related to 
land use is mostly traded though Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) on the lower 
value Voluntary Market rather than through Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) 
under the higher value Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); and the lack of Land 
use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) projects under the CDM makes the 
value of a formalized market for carbon stored in ecosystems difficult to predict. 
However, a large portion of the offsets in the growing voluntary sector retail market 
are currently sourced through LULUCF mechanisms (Hamilton et al. 2008), and 
whilst carbon offsetting through afforestation is often criticised, it is likely that an 
avoided emissions project such as avoided deforestation would be competitive in the 
market due to the perceived added benefits for biodiversity conservation (Chomitz et 
al. 2006, Stem 2007). 

The price of stored carbon will clearly be variable, and determined by a number of 
factors. Any single value placed on carbon stored in ecosystems should therefore be 
considered very speculative, particularly given that the scale of the market is yet to be 
determined through, for example, REDD implementation. Despite this, it is possible 
to gain some perspective of the potential value of carbon stored in ecosystems through 
by assigning an indicative value based of the range of values observed in current 
carbon markets and forestry projects. 



49 



Carbon markets 

Markets in which carbon is traded can be broadly split into regulated markets and 
voluntary markets. They are reported here to provide context for this assessment of 
where carbon stored in ecosystems would likely sit in the overall carbon market. The 
volume and value of carbon trading is clearly highest in regulatory markets (Table 7), 
although the voluntary market is increasing rapidly and is indicative of demand for 
projects not included in the UNFCCC. The regulatory market consists of the EU ETS, 
the CDM and Joint Implementation (JI) markets, and the New South Wales market. 
The voluntary market can be split into the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and 
'over the counter trading" (OTC). The CCX differs from the OTC market in that it is a 
formal exchange, a legally binding 'cap and trade' system that members sign up to 
voluntarily; whereas OTC is not driven by an emissions cap and mostly involves 
project-based transactions generating VERs. 

Table 7. Carbon market Transactions and Values, 2006 and 2007. Source: 
Ecosystem Marketplace, New Carbon Finance, World Bank. Reported in 
Hamilton eta/. 2008 



Markets 


Volume (MtC02e) 


Value (USSmillion) | 


2006 


2007 


2006 


2007 


Voluntary OTC Market 


14.3 


42.1 


58.5 


258.4 


CCX 


10.3 


22.9 


38.3 


72.4 


Total Voluntary 
Markets 


24.6 


65.0 


96.7 


330.8 


EUETS 


1,1044 


2,061 


24,436 


50,097 


Primary CDM 


537 


551 


6,887 


6,887 


Secondary CDM 


25 


240 


8,384 


8,384 


Joint Implementation 


16 


41 


141 


495 


New South Wales 


20 


25 


225 


224 


Total Regulated 

Markets 


1,702 


2,918 


40,072 


66,087 


Total Global Market 


1,727 


2,983 


40,169 


66,417 



EU ETS 

The largest carbon market is the EU ETS, both in terms of volume traded and value of 
transactions. Forestry credits are not currently eligible for trading on the EU ETS, and 
its value is therefore not representative of carbon stored in ecosystems (ToUefson 
2008). However, it should still be considered because it sends price signals to the rest 
of the market. The average price for carbon traded on the EU ETS in 2006 was $20 
per tC02e (Capoor & Ambrosi 2007), a price that has risen to €20-25 for EUAs in 
2007 (Capoor & Ambrosi 2008). Values for EUAs on the ECX were reported at 
carbonfmanceonline.com to be €24.66 (from 10'^ April - 15"' May 2008 for Dec08 
delivery), with €24.91 reported at carbonpositive.net in the first week of May. The 
value has been increasing throughout May, closing at €26. 1 1 on Reuters (23"" May 
2008), and €26.10 on Point Carbon (closing on 26"' May 2008). 



50 



Table 9. Market values for carbon in forest sector. Price of land based offsets. 
Adapted from Kollmuss era/. (2008), Taiyab (2006), Hamilton eta/. (2008) 



Offset 


Project type 


Price (t/COje) 


Voluntary carbon standard 
(carbon market actors) 


All minus new HFC 


€5-15 


VER+ 


CDM minus large 
hydro 


€5-15 


CCX* 


All (mostly soil 
carbon) 


€1-2 


Climate, Community and 
Biodiversity standards (NGOs and 
large corporations) 


LULUCF 


€5-10 


Plan Vivo (NGOs) 


LULUCF 


€2.5-9.5 


Climate Care (UK) 


Community based 
energy, some forestry 


£6.50 


Conservation International 


Forestry 


$5 Avoided 

deforestation 

$8- 1 2 restoration 


Face Foundation 


Forestry 


€10-13 


Future Forests 


Forestry (and some 
energy) 


£13-16 


Green Fleet 


Australia 


AUS$ 9.30 


Primaklima 


Forestry 


€1.50 



^Values on CCX have risen in early 2008 so this range is likely an underestimate 
for May 2008 

From the values presented above, it would appear that a reasonable range for the 
valuation of carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems falls at €1-10 for retail price, 
considering that some would be attached to 'standards' and higher value, and 
assuming that avoided deforestation is tested on the voluntary market for 
formalization in the UNFCCC. Within this, a conservative estimate of €3 - €7 at the 
higher end would appear acceptable for carbon stored in ecosystems across the board, 
considering that forestry based projects command higher prices within the current 
averages traded in the voluntary market and the values for forest carbon projects, and 
that carbon stored within other ecosystems will undoubtedly command a lower price. 
It is recognized that the value is highly speculative, and is being used only as an 
indication of the potential worth of carbon stored in protected areas, rather than as a 
prediction or thorough estimation of their value. 

References 

Brown, K; Adger, N; Boyd, E; Corbera-Elizalde, E & Shackley, S. 2004. How do 

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World Bank, Washington D.C., USA 



53 



Table 8. Percentage share of land use project types in the voluntary market 
(OTC & CCX). Hamilton etal. 2008 



Project type 


Percentage of land use market 


Afforestation/Reforestation 
Plantation/Monoculture 


13% 


Afforestation/Reforestation Native Restoration 


42% 


Avoided deforestation 


28% 


Agricultural soil 


16% 


Otiier biological sequestration (such as 
wetlands preservation) 


0.1% 



It is difficult to forecast what the discussions at the UNFCCC conference in Bali will 
do to the market, with Merril Lynch recently announcing a $9 million investment in a 
REDD project in Aceh and the likelihood of further REDD testing in the voluntary 
market. Recent commentary on carbonpositive.net suggested that the inclusion of 
REDD in the UNFCCC will likely change the market for forest carbon. New Forests, 
one example of a carbon company interested in investing in REDD in Papua New 
Guinea, propose to protect various tracts of land to create VERs that they estimate 
will be in the $3-$l 1 price range 

Forestry carbon projects 

A recent evaluation of the potential carbon finance that could be generated through 
REDD (Ebeling & Yasue, 2008) based calculations on a range of €5-30/tCO2; 
obtained through analysis of international markets. The lower range estimates appear 
more accurate in the current market, especially when considering the value of carbon 
traded through various carbon sequestration and storage projects. The Scolel de Te 
project in Mexico generated carbon emission reduction units (ERUs) worth $10-12/tc 
(de Jong et al. 2000, Brown et al. 2004) under the Joint Implementation (JI) 
mechanism. The lower price applied to existing carbon stock conservation because of 
their lack of inclusion in the CDM (Brown et al. 2004). Future Forests also purchases 
carbon from reforestation projects at $12/tc (Smith & Scherr 2002). 

Analysing predicted 'forest carbon' prices from a number of sources (Grubb et al. 
2001, Point Carbon 2001, den Elzen & De Moor 2002), Smith & Scherr (2002) 
concluded that market price estimates fall within an $8-40t/c range, most likely to 
command a price of $15-20 if the US ratifies Kyoto and credits are banked for the 
second commitment period. However, Neef et al. (2007) maintain that with few 
market signals available for forest carbon under the CDM, the most reliable price 
remains that established by the BioCarbon Fund of US$4 per carbon credit. Others 
report that a price for stored carbon of $10 per ton is more realistic, and could likely 
increase over the coming decades (Laurance 2007). 



52 



Table 9. Market values for carbon in forest sector. Price of land based offsets. 
Adapted from Kollmuss eta/. (2008), Taiyab (2006), Hamilton era/. (2008) 



Offset 


Project type 


Price (t/COie) 


Voluntary carbon standard 
(carbon market actors) 


All minus new 


HFC 


€5-15 


VER+ 


CDM minus 
hydro 


large 


€5-15 


CCX* 


All (mostly 
carbon) 


soil 


€1-2 


Climate, Community and 
Biodiversity standards (NGOs and 
large corporations) 


LULUCF 


€5-10 


Plan Vivo (NGOs) 


LULUCF 


€2.5-9.5 


Climate Care (UK) 


Community based 
energy, some forestry 


£6.50 


Conservation International 


Forestry 


$5 Avoided 
deforestation 
$8-12 restoration 


Face Foundation 


Forestry 


€10-13 


Future Forests 


Forestry (and 
energy) 


some 


£13-16 


Green Fleet 


Australia 


AUS$ 9.30 


Primaklima 


Forestry 


€1.50 



*Values on OCX have risen in early 2008 so this range is likely an underestimate 
for May 2008 

From the values presented above, it would appear that a reasonable range for the 
valuation of carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems falls at €1-10 for retail price, 
considering that some would be attached to 'standards' and higher value, and 
assuming that avoided deforestation is tested on the voluntary market for 
formalization in the UNFCCC. Within this, a conservative estimate of €3 - €7 at the 
higher end would appear acceptable for carbon stored in ecosystems across the board, 
considering that forestry based projects command higher prices within the current 
averages traded in the voluntary market and the values for forest carbon projects, and 
that carbon stored within other ecosystems will undoubtedly command a lower price. 
It is recognized that the value is highly speculative, and is being used only as an 
indication of the potential worth of carbon stored in protected areas, rather than as a 
prediction or thorough estimation of their value. 

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